May 4, 2020

By Marcy Sugar

By Kathy Mitchell

May 4, 2020 4 min read

Dear Annie: My husband graduated from a very prestigious art college. Early in his career, he gave away some paintings to close friends and family members.

Recently, he did a beautiful portrait for a family member who insisted on paying my husband. He happily agreed and quoted them a reasonable price. They told my husband they would get a check to him soon.

It's been more than six months, and they haven't paid a penny. It burns us up to see this piece of art displayed in their home. We know it was probably a mistake to give away his early paintings, but he is trying to rectify this.

My husband doesn't know how to confront this family member without causing a rift. Help. — Artist's Wife

Dear Wife: If your husband plans to earn a living with his art, he needs to stop allowing others to take advantage of him. He should send this family member a "bill," saying he hopes they like the painting, that he has enjoyed seeing it in their home, and that he is looking forward to receiving the check for his first paid commission. He should remind them of the amount they agreed to, and ask whether they'd like to pay it by check, cash or an online transfer. And in the future, he should not turn over a piece of artwork until he has received payment in full. Otherwise, he will be giving very nice gifts.

Dear Annie: This is in reference to "A Concerned Daughter and Mom-to-Be," whose mother is bipolar and is incapable of keeping herself or her house clean. "Concerned" says the kitchen and bathroom are moldy biohazards. She doesn't want her baby to spend time there.

Please tell her that mold can cause or exacerbate serious health issues, both physical and mental. The daughter mentioned the mother has a "sour smell" about her. This indicates a possible yeast overgrowth in her body.

The daughter is absolutely right to keep her baby away from this environment. The mother also needs to be removed from her moldy surroundings. It's certainly not going to get better on its own. Please tell the daughter. — John

Dear John: Thank you. Mold can cause a great many problems, most commonly allergies, as well as sinus and respiratory problems. Some exposure can cause infections or toxic reactions. And toxic molds, left untreated, can cause fatigue, headaches, immunodeficiencies and other more serious health issues.

It is important to keep your homes moisture-free. If you notice mold growing, clean it immediately or have it done professionally. The Environmental Protection Agency has information on mold at

Dear Annie: Here's more on phone scammers: Beware of those claiming to be from "Windows" or something similar. Windows is a product, not a company. The scammers will get control of your hard drive and install a virus. Then they will con you into giving them a credit card number to install an antivirus. Your computer will be wrecked.

The bottom line is: Don't ever give access to your computer or credit card numbers over the phone unless you initiated the call. — John

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at

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